The majority of this funding is directed at site-specific or region-specific problems, with heavy emphasis on pilot and demonstration projects. State spending on desalination plant construction has grown rapidly in the past 3 years and has greatly overshadowed spending on desalination research.

The private sector appears to fund the majority of desalination research, with total annual spending estimated to be more than twice that of all other surveyed sources of such funding. Based on the judgment of individuals working in the industry, the private sector allocates a smaller fraction of its research portfolio to high-risk desalination research than the federal government. Given the large research and development budgets in private industry, however, high-risk research funding is estimated to be roughly equivalent between the private sector and the government.

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